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A Look at HSV’s Biggest Industry Raises Challenge

Time for a pop quiz: What’s the biggest industry in Hot Springs Village?

Golf?  Estimated revenue this year – $7.1 million.

Construction?  Estimated annual revenue – $20.1 million.

The POA?  2020 budget – $36.1 million ($17.7-million payroll with 286 full-time and 231 part-time employees).

The correct answer: Real estate – $144.7 million in sales last year:

    •  609 single-family homes sold for $133,021,202, an average of $218,425.
    •  87 town houses sold for $10,088,670, an average of $115,961.
    • 111 lots sold for $1,590,300, an average of 14,327.

The actual figures are higher because the real-estate industry’s multiple-listing service (MLS) doesn’t include sales between individuals.

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New urgency to easing process for issuing new-home building permits

Why is all this important?

Because, as board vice-chair Lloyd Sherman reports, the number of homes for sale at the end of July fell to 100, a drop of 56.9 percent from last year.

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 Hot Springs Village is a hot market right now.  When demand far exceeds supply, prices go up and – more worrisome for the Village – potential buyers go elsewhere if they can’t find anything to buy here.

The solution?  Build more homes.

Board member Tucker Omohundro is trying to cut the red tape to make it easier for builders to obtain new-home permits, but his work hasn’t shown dividends yet.  In the first half of this year, 32 permits were issued, up only four from last year.

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Dr. Walt Morrison sent along a survey of the 50 states ranking them as the best to retire.  Result:  Arkansas led the list.  Why?

Cost of living: 17 percent below the U.S. average.

PRO: Quite a low cost of living in the Natural State, as well as average health costs being the third lowest for retired couples. Arkansas is known for its wildlife, hot springs, mountains, and rivers – hence the name the “Natural State.”

CON: Arkansas’ state taxes aren’t that easy on the wallet. Social Security benefits and up to $6,000 of other retirement income are exempt. Top income tax rates can hit 6.9 percent if the income exceeds $75,000. Poverty rates in Arkansas for seniors are the eighth highest in the U.S. Also, this Southern state isn’t the place to be for those craving big city living!

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Villager Glen Grussaute wrote last week about experiences he’s had working with non-profit boards of directors.  He was concerned when he saw our POA board had taken steps to find a parliamentarian skilled in using Robert’s Rules of Order to manage board of director (BOD) meetings.

Grussaute said a corporate attorney “strongly advised against it, especially stating in the bylaws that the board would use Robert’s Rules of Order.  His objections included some interesting facts he put forward:

    “1.  The original use of RRof O was actually in the governance of a church, not a corporation.

    “2.  The details of RRof O are quite extensive and he stated very few if any corporations actually follow the rules entirely.  This he said leaves a BOD open for potential litigation if the corporation states the use of RRof O in any corporate document.

    “3.  If implemented as written, RRof O is very cumbersome and makes conducting BOD meetings more difficult.

“His recommendation was to state BOD meetings would be conducted in a manner that encourages open discussion, affords opportunity for all BOD members to have an equal voice during discussion of motions, decisions etc., fosters efficiency in conducting meetings.

“Just food for thought,” Grussaute wrote.

Indeed it is.

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Grussaute’s email triggered this bit of trivia:

Robert’s Rules of Order were written by Henry M. Robert, a second lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers.  What makes this interesting for Joyce and me is he wrote the rules while stationed at American Camp on San Juan Island, Wash., where we lived before moving to the Village.

San Juan Island is in the middle of Puget Sound.  It was the last piece of American soil to be occupied by a foreign army.

In 1859, the U.S. and Britain agreed to jointly occupy the island (at American Camp and British Camp, both part of the San Juan Island National Historic Park) while higher powers decided where the boundary between the U.S. and Canada would be drawn.  It was ultimately drawn in Haro Strait just west of San Juan Island and east of Vancouver Island.

The whole occupation thing was a result of the Pig War, which was caused when a pig, owned by an American on the south end of San Juan, wandered onto a neighboring farm owned by a Brit.  The pig began rooting in the Brit’s potato patch.

The outraged Brit shot and killed the pig.  The Yank screamed so loudly to authorities the U.S. sent troops to the island.  The Brits responded by sending troops from Vancouver Island.

The standoff lasted for 14 years.

As you might guess, duty on San Juan was miserable, lonely, and boring.  The weather at South Beach where the Americans set up camp was often cold and windy.  While the view of the Olympic Mountains across the Strait of Juan de Fuca is beautiful, it only goes so far.

So Robert had plenty of time to write his rules.

One final bit of trivia (I know, you’ve heard enough already):  The cabin used by officers at American camp was purchased half a century ago and moved to the 26 acres where we lived on San Juan, and turned into a really neat guest house.

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Last Friday I wrote how Village Chris Biagini had shared his coronavirus spreadsheet showing a spike in deaths.  I read the spreadsheet wrong and his alarming numbers related to the number of cases, not the number of deaths.  Here’s what I should have written:

Arkansas: from 234.5 cases for each 100,000 at the end of May to 1,396.3 on July 30, a rise of 495.4 percent in two months.

Saline County: from 94.9 to 700.8, up 638.5 percent.

Pulaski County: from 222.6 to 1,182.8, a rise of 431.4 percent.

I’m sorry for the confusion.

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Yesterday the state reported 787 new cases in Arkansas, bringing the total to 44,597.

By Former Board Director, Frank Leeming, 7-31-20

Click here to subscribe to Frank’s email list.

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